Re: Signing Off For the Most Part

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Men's Long Hair Hyperboard ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Native Carolinian (other posts) on March 17, 2018 at 10:36:40 Previous Next

In Reply to: Re: Signing Off For the Most Part posted by Anthony on March 16, 2018 at 02:41:07:

: It isn't easy to grasp the reasoning in this explanation, but there seems to be a problem with individuality in relation to cultural identity. You seem to be of Native American origin and an Orthodox Christian. You seem to have experienced some kind of pressure to conform to a norm that involves having short hair - which seems little different from contemporary western fashions and corporate dress codes. At the same time, you express the opposite idea.

: I am a priest of a conservative Church of Anglican tradition, and nearly all our clergy have short hair. In that, I seem to be "counter-cultural" but it is not a major matter for my Bishop and fellow clergy. I am seen as odd, but the way I am with my long mid-back hair. This explanation certainly provokes us to ask ourselves why we prefer to have our hair long and in relation to what cultural references. I was a child in the 1960's and suffered some influence from the rebel culture against modern authoritarianism, but my real "reference" is much older. Long hair on men was much more usual until the early 19th century. I find myself identifying with early Romanticism as it reacted from the extreme rationalism and materialism of the 17th and 18th centuries. My hair was already long before I finally homed in to what really inspired my philosophy of life. I am modern western, but I identify with pre-modernism and post-modernism.

: Religious people in America seem to be a lot more rigid about matters like long hair on men than here in Europe. People here in Europe generally don't care about anything, which is the opposite extreme from polarisation caused by conflicting ideologies. In the end of the day, we just seem to need to be ourselves when we are not causing any harm to other people, and live our lives with conviction and courage. I was criticised quite a lot when I was in my awkward stage because my hair looked scruffy, but now it is long, people are curious and sometimes surprised, but generally don't say anything out of courtesy and respect.

: I can't judge you or say you are wrong, but I find it sad that some feel prisoners of some system. Perhaps for you, short hair is a mark of being truly yourself as long hair is for me. Then, you must be true to yourself and live as you feel and think best. I don't know about others on this board, but I would say that you ought to stay in the group. You are the same person and your experience of life is valuable to us all, both your ethnic origins and Orthodox Christianity that you have embraced. I am sure that Native Americans have a highly developed philosophy as well as a sense of tradition, certainly that in-tuneness with nature that is found in western Romanticism and modern Environmentalism.

: As a "Romantic Idealist" (like the Jena Circle in the 1790's) I am more cosmopolitan than nationalistic or "parochial". I love to discover other philosophies and traditions and compare them with my own experience of life and thought. We all have so much to learn.

: Please stay with us and keep sharing your experience and thought with us. This board isn't just about hair length (mine is "short" compared with the Rapunzels among us), but a philosophy of life and the sacredness of the human person.

: Anthony

Dear Anthony,

Thank you for your input. In American Indian communities and peoples, hair shows faith and religious beliefs. Religion of Native Peoples is so complex I do not know where to begin. The history that my peoples have put up with is extreme to say the least. In the experiences the peoples I come from, colonialism put pressure on us in many ways. Protestant religion was used as a weapon to justify westward expansion expansion beyond the Treaty of 1763 Boundaries established by the British Crown on the part of the colonials.

I am unenroleled Cherokee and Muskogee Creek (amongst other backgrounds). One thing I always remember is the treatment we got from the British Crown. I appreciate it. I do not speak on behalf of the tribes, but for my part I want to express thanks to the British Crown for their continued support of American Indian peoples against the colonials. The Cherokee and Muskogee Confederacy sided with the Crown against the Americans in the War of 1812. In many ways it was a war to fend the Americans off and my family fought against the Americans in both cases as far as I know.

I know that we would have done a lot better as American Indian peoples if the Americans had lost the Revolutionary War of 1776. We may not be having this sort of conversation if the Americans had lost. The Americans duped many Indians into supporting the Americans, and then burned the treaties made with the Indians or otherwise messed American Indians up. I am unenrolled Lenape. We were supposed to have the 14th State due to allowing the Americans to pass through the area where we were. We never got it. After the war, the Americans broke that treaty, it was their first broken treaty. They did it almost immediately after winning. The other Native peoples knew not to trust the Americans after that point. With the utter collapse of our Native populations in the South East, we were hard pressed to keep American pressure at bay. After the Red Stick War and the War of 1812, the Muskogee Confederacy was collapsing as well. Those who converted to Protestantism were allowed to stay in what was rapidly becoming the United States, which was actually the Muskogee Confederacy. The Cherokee fought removal as well. It did not matter that most of the Cherokee had converted to Protestantism, the Americans wanted the gold in our land. The Americans wanted to punish us for supporting the British Crown in 1812 too.

How does this relate to hair? What ended up happening is that since we were the Civilized Tribes, we were supposed to be left alone where we were and run our affairs with governmental structures similar to the nation states of Europe. We were doing that. The Americans decided to get uppity and burn the Treaties. Their Supreme Court decided in favor of the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and (I hate to even bring up his name) President Andrew Jackson of the white male landholder republic (white men did not even give their women the vote until later), violated the ruling of the Supreme Court of his own country. He illegally evicted the Cherokee from our homeland. The Cherokee and Muskogee Confederacy had already been reforming our societies and were accepting Protestant Christianity. The way that I have explained things in my other post, means that for the sake of those who do not understand and are easily confused, not for the white man or the white man ways, did I cut my hair. I did it so that I do not lead any astray. For the moment it is the way of it. It will make social interaction among my own peoples easier for me. What has been really great is being recognized by the enrolled people. In the future, I might re-grow my hair, but for now it is a symbol of being who I am where I am in the time in which I find myself. It will help with false advertising issues with other Indian people. I know it is hard for non-Indians to understand, but there are so many complexities to being American Indian and so many ways to navigate life, especially for someone like me who is unenrolled mixed tribes. There are social norms inside of social norms inside of social norms, with the Orthodox Faith at the center of my decision making process on this topic. Everything goes out from there. I am allowed to be myself in Christ. He is the only one who has ever allowed me to do that. If it is better for me to have short hair to serve Him, then so be it. That may change in the future, however until such time as there are more American Indians who are Orthodox from my peoples and we can have a larger conversation about the past 500 years of colonialism, this is the way it might be. So, I am for now an American Indian with short hair who respects Orthodox Christian Faith, and my peoples. I do not want to be a stumbling block to them.

I know this is confusing to many people, but it is for loving Christ and being a witness to Him that I do this. Like I have said, long hair for Orthodox Christian men is not forbidden, however for me, it is not helpful. There are many things that are difficult to understand and explain. My life is full of nuance. Muskogee people consistently identify me as looking like a Muskogee. I can better witness for Christ with short hair at the moment. If this changes in the future, then great. In the mean time, I can do everything from my cultures except for traditional religion. Non-religious dancing has been 100% okayed, so have language, writing, reading, clothing, food, history learning, games, fighting fishing and hunting implements, as well as anything non-religious I have failed to mention such as child rearing strategies which is historically a huge issue. This is a big win for American Indians and Native Americans. It is the same treatment that the Aleuts, Yu'pik, Yupik, Tlingit, Athabaskans, and Inuit in Alaska have. It is the same treatment that Russians, Serbians, Greeks, Arabs, Romanians, Carpatho-Russians, Georgians, Cypriots and Africans have. We are no different in treatment than they are. This has been a long process. To hold to these things is the key. Cutting my hair after fighting this, with many fights to go, is a small price. In Orthodox Christian parishes, turkey and corn bread filling may start showing up at feast times ;). I am looking forward to that day. That's how I grew up feasting.

The cultures I come from do not have a word or concept of good-bye. We will all hopefully see each other again. The last times as an adult that I saw elderly relatives, both times I said, "See you later." Love does not stop, memory is hopefully eternal.

See you again.

Be well.

Follow Ups:


[ Men's Long Hair Hyperboard ] [ FAQ ]